Long time readers of this blog and followers of my twitter feed will know that I’ve long been a fan of The Felin Fach Griffin and not just for the food. (In fact as I write this I’m reminded of the fact that I’m long overdue to do an updated review, as the talented Ross Bruce has now been Head Chef since March 2011.) I’m not the only one that’s a fan either, Michelin awarded them a Bib Gourmand in the 2012 guide and they have been The Good Pub Guide Welsh Dining Pub of the Year for the last 3 years and are this year’s Inn of the Year for the whole UK. Check out the recognition page on their website to see the ever increasing list of accolades they have won.
Very early this year on receiving a cryptic message from Griffin Manager, the lovely Julie Bell, along the lines of ‘keep September 7th clear more info to follow’ I immediately blanked the date out in my diary. Then, in late May, came said information. It was to be a mini festival, with stalls, food, music and drink all taking place over one evening.
‘Count me in.’ was the obvious response. For me the next 4 months just involved sitting back and waiting for September 7th. For Julie and her staff it involved taking Hiraeth, a Welsh word best interpreted as a deep longing for a connection with the land of Wales, from an initial concept to “an evening dedicated to celebrating the local land, its bounty and its music.” Did I mention this was a rather ambitious little festival?
The event was to take place mainly in the garden of The Griffin, but with an indoor lecture theatre using one of the restaurant rooms.
We arrived on the night to find the stall holders putting the finishing touches to their stands. It was great to see how many people had come out to support the event. Selling their wares were Black Mountain Smokery, Chef on the Run Foods, Penpont Organic Produce, 100% Hay, Pips Cider, The Waen Brewery, Brecon Brewing, Talgarth Mill, The Hours Café & Bookshop and The Great English Outdoors.
The evening’s music was provided by Repercussion, Al Cooper & Dan James and Johnny Crows Garden.
Amazingly September 7th turned out to be one of the very few warm, sunny days that the summer of 2012 could deliver, which in turn led into a balmy late summer evening. The smells of the BBQ wafted across to us as we sat, listening to the live music and sipping our drinks, in between wandering off to chat to the producers and buy some of their great produce.
Finally the food was ready. From the grill came moist, succulent Welsh lamb, super fresh sardines caught that morning in Cornwall and whizzed up the motorway, fresh ravioli and garden fresh vegetables. All washed down with a choice of local beers and ciders. Bliss!
We loved Hiraeth. It was the perfect way to spend a late summer evening. We met lots of interesting people, made new friends, enjoyed the good food, good music and revelled in the great laid back atmosphere.
Julie and her team did a fantastic job for the inaugural Hiraeth and should be congratulated by all. In fact they did such a good job that the only thing I can think off to improve the event would be for it to be longer.
We had the first two tickets off the press for Hiraeth 2012, this is my notice that I want the first two for Hiraeth 2013 too.
Scroll down for a collection of photos from this year’s event.